The Bad and the Beautiful Trailer (1952)

The trailer for The Bad and the Beautiful.

In Hollywood, screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), and director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) each refuse to speak by phone to Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) in Paris. Movie producer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) gathers them in his office and begs them to help Shields out.

The backstory of their involvement with Shields unfolds. Shields is the son of a notorious old filmmaker who had been dumped by the industry. He was so unpopular that his son had to hire "extras" to attend his funeral. Shields is determined to make it in Hollywood by any means necessary.

In a flashback, Shields partners with aspiring director Amiel, whom he meets at his father's funeral. In a poker game, Shields intentionally loses money he does not have to film executive Pebbel so he can talk Pebbel into letting him work off the debt. Shields and Amiel learn their respective trades making low-budget films for him. Amiel decides he is ready to film a project he has been nursing along. Shields pitches it to the studio. He gets a large budget to produce the film, but has to betray Amiel by letting someone with an established reputation direct it.

Shields next encounters alcoholic small-time actress Lorrison, the daughter of a famous actor Shields admired. He builds up her confidence and gives her the leading role in one of his movies over everyone else's objections. When she falls in love with him, he lets her think that he feels the same way in order to get the performance he needs. After a smash premiere makes her a star overnight, she finds him with a beautiful bit player named Laila (Elaine Stewart). He drives Lorrison away, telling her that he will never allow anyone to have that much control over him.

Finally, Bartlow is a contented professor at a small college who has written a bestselling book. Shields wants to turn it into a film and have him write the script. Bartlow is not interested, but his shallow Southern belle wife, Rosemary (Gloria Grahame) is, so he agrees to do it for her sake. They go to Hollywood, where Shields is annoyed to find that her constant distractions are keeping her husband from his work. He gets his suave actor friend Victor "Gaucho" Ribera (Gilbert Roland) to keep her occupied. Freed from interruption, Bartlow has no trouble finishing the script. Rosemary, however, runs off with Gaucho and they are killed in a plane crash. When Shields slips and reveals his involvement, Bartlow leaves too. Shields then decides to direct a film himself, instead of just producing it. But he botches it. Everybody else does admirably, but the result is a mess. Shields' stubborn refusal to release it leads to his bankruptcy.

The story comes full circle to the beginning. When all three reject Shields' offer to work together again, Pebbel sarcastically agrees that Shields "ruined" their lives. They are all now at the top of their professions. As they leave, Pebbel is still talking to Shields. Out of his sight, the three eavesdrop on another phone while Shields describes his new idea and become more and more interested.

2 min 42 sec


Posted On
August 28, 2010
Vincente Minnelli

Charles Schnee


December 1, 1952
Lana Turner
Kirk Douglas
Walter Pidgeon
Dick Powell
Barry Sullivan
Trailer Tracks
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